ZAGREB (Reuters) - Holders Germany continued to serve up late drama at the European handball championship after they were held 25-25 by Macedonia on Wednesday for their second successive draw against unfancied rivals.
The Germans also ground out a 25-25 draw with Slovenia on Monday when they were awarded a controversial penalty on the buzzer after lengthy video-assisted deliberations.
All three teams advanced to the main round from preliminary pool C after the Slovenians snatched their berth thanks to an emphatic 28-19 defeat of Montenegro.
Olympic champions Denmark overpowered Spain 25-22 in pool D and both teams went through alongside the Czech Republic, whose centre back Ondrej Zdrahala produced a majestic 14-goal performance in their 33-27 win over Hungary.
The main round, which is the second group stage of the 16-nation tournament, features two groups of six and the teams who have advanced will carry points they amassed playing each other in the preliminary pools.
World champions France and Sweden will start in Group I with a maximum four points each, Croatia and Norway have two points apiece while Belarus and Serbia have none.
In Group II, surprise packages Macedonia lead with three points, ahead of Spain, Denmark, Czech Republic and Germany who have two each. Slovenia will start with one point.
Germany goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter saved well with 13 seconds left to deny the Macedonians, with the former Yugoslav republic roared on by thousands of fans in the Zagreb Arena.
Steffen Weinhold also stood out for the Germans with a game-high eight goals from 11 shots while Filip Taleski netted six at the other end.
Prolific left back Mikkel Hansen, still sporting a black eye from a pre-tournament injury, rifled in six goals as Denmark bounced back from Monday’s shock 28-27 defeat by the Czechs.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade,; Editng by Ed Osmond